Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Today -100: April 13, 1921: Of world-governing super-powers, charms, lawful sovereigns, secret treaties, and peonage

Harding gives his first State of the Union address. “He wore a dark morning coat that fitted him well.” He’s still talking about forming a non-political association of nations “based upon the application of justice and right, binding us in conference and cooperation for the prevention of war and pointing the way to higher civilization and international fraternity,” which he has to know won’t happen. He says that with “the existing League of Nations, world-governing with its super-powers, this republic will have no part.” He will have Congress declare a “technical peace” with Germany. US occupation troops in the Coblenz region will remain, because they are there under the terms of the armistice of 11/11/18 rather than the Treaty of Versailles.

He says “Congress ought to wipe the stain of barbaric lynching from the banners of a free and orderly, representative democracy.” Spoiler Alert: It won’t. He doesn’t say a thing about racial voter suppression but does suggest... wait for it... a commission “embracing representatives of both races” to discuss the subject of race. Both races. Fortunately there were only two, evidently, which should make it easier. This part of the speech was greeted by “applause and then silence.”

The NYT provides a guide to presidential pronunciation, comparing how Harding pronounces words like either, personnel, maintained etc with how Wilson pronounced them.

Headline of the Day -100:  

The Hungarian government, while asking Switzerland to allow former emperor Charles to live there permanently, says it considers him Hungary’s lawful sovereign.

IRAers shoot military horses and mules, in separate incidents suggesting this is a new tactic. That’s one way to hamper military activity, and this blog does not approve.

Italy has a secret treaty with the Turkish nationalists, signed last month, to support them in their war with Greece, despite Italy being a signatory of the Treaty of Sèvres, which Greece is fighting to enforce. By “secret treaty,” I mean Italy didn’t inform the other Allies of its existence.

A superintendent and 3 foremen of the Southern Construction Company, which is building the Lee Highway in Tennessee, are arrested by federal agents for violating peonage laws by forcing 75 black men to work on the project. One described how he was beaten with a pine board after trying to escape. “The Government has forced the defendants to release every negro in the camp with the exception of the cook.” 

Sen. Ralph Cameron (R-Arizona) is sued by a man for alienation of affection. Cameron responds that Mrs. McFarlin was not married to the plaintiff at the time and that under AZ law the case is past the statute of limitations.

Proposed bills before the 67th Senate include: a Bonus for veterans, a ban on railroad strikes, racial segregation in D.C. street cars, recognition of Irish independence, a federal sales tax, forgiving British war debts in exchange for its West Indian colonies, ditto for the French Antilles, a two-cent Teddy Roosevelt coin, purchasing Baja California from Mexico, and banning foreign-language periodicals without English translations in parallel columns.

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